The study? Do people who pray a lot, drink less? Four studies showed that the more people prayed, the less alchohol they consumed. To control for bias, in two of the studies, subjects were placed into two random groups. The group that was asked to pray each day ended up consuming 50% less alchohol than the group that was not assigned to praying. Can prayer be used to reduce addictive drinking behavior? And what does this mean for Carmel and Manischewitz wine sales?
In related news, a recently published University of Buffalo (NY) study shows that the closer one lives to a supermarket (relative to a convenience store or bodega), the lower one’s Body Mass Index, and the closer one lives to fast food restaurants, the greater one’s BMI. The study said nothing about the effect of living close to the Mahane Yehuda market in Jerusalem.
Speaking of markets, Comic Con was held in San Diego last weekend, and the Los Angeles Jewish Journal covered it from a Jewish POV. Adam Wills, their GeekHeeb, interviewed actor/writer Seth Rogin on how Jew-y his upcoming Green Hornet will be.
White, and not green or hornets, will be the talk in Rhinebeck NY this weekend, at a much media hyped wedding. I care zero about it, so on to the next item… Although I do have to compliment Clyde H. of the NYT who had the best line… this is probably the first Clinton family event that doesn’t also double as a fund raiser. By the way, Eli Roth, the film director and actor (he played the Bear Jew in Inglorious Basterds) will wed Peaches Geldof, the daughter of rocker and philanthropist Bob Geldof, in a Jewish ceremony in January 2011.
The Los Angeles Jewish Journal also covers this weekend’s opening of a film titled “Dinner for Shmucks,” which was written by Michael Handelman and David Guion, both 39, and
based on inspired by Francis Veberâ€™s French-language film, â€œLe Diner de Consâ€ (â€œDinner for Bloody Idiotsâ€). Of course the title, which uses a Yiddish word, catches your eye (The title was already assigned to the film before the two Yale grads were hired to author the screenplay). I am not sure yet whether the “for Shmucks” refers to the film’s hapless fools, evil bankers, or its producers or audiences. (if you are wondering… Guion was born to a Huguenot family, and Handelman’s father was raised in a Jewish family)
In other Middle East visit news, the BBC World Service reported today on the visit of Saudi King Abdullah and Syrian President Bashar Assad to Beirut Lebanon. Why, it was only a year ago that the two countries differed on issues including Iran, but when asked by the BBC, the spokesmodels for the two leaders said Arabs are united and BFF’s.
Speaking of BFF’s, Boston attorney Jeffrey Robbins, a former United States Delegate to the United Nations Human Rights Commission, writes in the Christian Science Monitor, that Israel can do no right in the eyes of its critics and other biased pundits.
Wrapping up news from the Mideast, The Washington Post reports today from Qasr Al-Yahud on fecal pollution in the Jordan River and its affect on Christian pilgrims and baptisms. Eli Dror, head of environmental monitoring at Israel’s Nature and Parks Authority, said he is so confident of the quality of the river’s water that he let his infant grandson play in it recently. A report on a test of the water last Fall stated that the water is safe for splashing and dipping, and I guess sprinkling as well.
Speaking of sprinkles, Professor Alan Dershowitz writes this week in the Huffington Post about Oliver Stone, Meg Ryan, anti-Israel and racist professors and rabbis, the Knesset and more. One item that jumped out at me was a story in Haaretz on the Israeli doctors and their equipment that arrived in the COngo to treat burn victims (from that oil tanker that overturned). The Israelis were shunned by physicians working with Doctors Without Borders – Netherlands. The Israelis were there with Daniel Saada, Israelâ€™s ambassador to Congo, as an official delegation of the Israeli foreign ministries Mashav aid agency. Although the president of the Democratic Republic of Congo, Joseph Kabila, telephoned the Israeli delegation to thank them, the relationship with the volunteers of Medecins Sans Frontieres Netherlands were not as sanguine. The Israelis were shunned. Maybe it was politics, or perhaps it was because they kept playing Gidi Gov songs on their iPods during the complicated surgeries?
Someone not listening to Gidi Gov was the communications director for the reelection campaign of a local NYC candidate for Congress. The NY Observer reported on an interview it had with the campaign of a Staten Island rep for Congress. His communications director complained that the Republican opponent for the U.S. Congressional had received a lot of Jewish money (after attending a Kabbalah lecture) and she maintained a file on the Republican’s Jewish contributors, but not on the other “out of district” contributors. The incumbent fired his communications director after learning about her file and interview.
Finally, someone not in need of a new communications director is U.S. Congressman Howard Berman (Dem – Ca, San Fernando valley), who sent out some talking points last week to fellow Dems on how the party is supportive of Israel.